Have you ever felt suspicious about a car or strangers in your neighborhood? Do you have a gut feeling your house could be the target of a crime? Typically, if you pay close attention, signs and even markings can indicate a burglary is coming your way.
But what are the signs that your house is marked?
Keep watch for unusual cars and foot traffic around your home and neighborhood. Physical markings such as chalk, paint, or string tied to light posts and branches are signs your house is marked. Burglars will also fake emergencies or offer help to access your home for information gathering.
Being the victim of a burglary not only results in the loss of your valuables, but it robs you and your family of the security you once thought you had. In the article below, we will discuss the techniques used by burglars to pinpoint a target, as well as the steps you can take to prevent this from happening to you!
One of the most common techniques that burglars will use to flag a target is through various methods of physically marking it. These markings can be as simple as a piece of trash on the side of the road or as elaborate as secret codes disguised as construction symbols.
Luckily, unless you just bought a new house, your property is something that you are very familiar with. If you see something out of place or that wasn’t there before, you should have the ability to spot it quickly!
While the markings come in all shapes and sizes, we have narrowed down the most common practices used by burglars to mark a house.
- Parked Cars: When casing a neighborhood or house, burglars might observe activities such as work schedules, vacation packing, and how busy it gets in the area throughout the day. Using their vehicles allows for better concealment and mobility when gathering this information.
- Chalk or Paint: Many believe that chalk is the go-to option for marking a house. Chalk is easy to conceal and easily washes away when a job is complete.
- Street Debris: Street debris refers to items on the street or sidewalk that could be a marker for future targets. This includes trash, bottles, boxes, bricks, rocks, or anything identifiable to criminals.
- String markings. String markings refer to pieces of string or rope tied to a tree, light post, or the roof of your porch. If you tear down these markings, keep monitoring for them to reappear in the same area.
Another more sophisticated method used by intruders is the Da Pinchi Code. The Da Pinchi Code is a collection of markings used to give more detailed information to the person or crew tasked with stealing your belongings. These convey information such as:
- Best times to enter a home (day/night)
- If the family is on vacation
- Information that families will respond to (religion, politics, etc.)
- Types of valuables within the home
- Homes to avoid
- If the family has cameras or a dog
By design, these markings are similar to standard symbols you would see on the street. There is no need to panic or start clearing these away before ruling out their legitimacy. If you see markings outside your driveway, contact the city or your town’s governing body to find out if work is in progress on your road.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, burglars will often research a neighborhood by parking their cars and observing their activity. If you notice an unfamiliar vehicle, gather as much information as possible and try to identify who is behind the wheel.
It is important to use cameras to monitor traffic when you are not home. If a strange car is frequently passing by your residence, try and monitor their activity for patterns. Ask your neighbors if they are familiar with the vehicle or have some insight into who the owner is. Try and get photos of the license plate and driver to pass on to the police if you feel it is necessary.
Testing to See Who’s Home
Criminals may also conduct small tests to determine if the residents are away when selecting a target. An example of one of these tests could include shattering a window of your home. If the window isn’t fixed after some time passes, chances are nobody is home.
They could use other tactics by placing cans of food, newspapers, flyers, or other items at your doorstep. The home is a potential target if the objects are still there after a few days. Checking your mailbox to see if anyone has been collecting it is a similar test requiring no action.
While strange cars in the neighborhood are something to keep watch for, don’t forget to look for unusual foot traffic as well. Burglars use different techniques to blend into a community and linger outside potential targets.
Criminals will often pose as walkers or joggers and frequently lap around your home. Throughout these laps, they could be checking for weak points or your daily schedule.
Watch for people taking photos of your fence, property, and cars. If you notice this occurring, it is important to get a clear look at the suspicious individual’s face and memorize their appearance. Having cameras that capture the activity around your home is even better!
In the modern world, getting a knock on your door without prior notice is often met with some hesitation. While keeping your doors locked is an excellent method for keeping people out, the ability to identify who is outside your door before opening it is crucial. NEVER let strangers into your home unless it is an activity you expect, and they identify themselves.
Another common technique criminals use is knocking on your door and claiming to be from a legitimate business or agency. They will try to convince you to let them inside to gain information about your home.
Another tactic that a thief may use is by faking an emergency. In this scenario, criminals will use your kindness against you, and they will do everything they can to pull at your heartstrings to gain access to your home. Examples of this include faking an injury, a broken-down car, a glass of water, or the desire to use your phone.
Intruders may also knock on your door to offer help with small jobs around your home. They may “notice” an issue with your roof, doors, or windows that they can help you fix. Other examples could include snow removal, lawn care, gardening, tree removal, or repairing a fence.
The purpose of any attempts at accessing your home is to gain as much information as possible. They will be looking for weak points in your home defense, your security system, and if you have a dog. The valuables that are easily accessible will also be something that they will want to know about.
If you value your belongings, safety, and peace of mind, you should take the steps ahead of time to prevent a robbery from occurring. While you can never be too careful in your prevention efforts, below are some great measures to get you started in keeping these unwanted guests at bay!
- Don’t share photos of your belongings on social media.
- Never reveal your travel plans to untrusted sources.
- Don’t let strangers into your home for any reason.
- Contact the city if you notice strange road symbols and clean away any potential markings listed above.
- Notify the police of any strange foot traffic or parked cars hanging around your neighborhood.
- Invest in quality surveillance and security systems.
- Keep your doors and windows locked at all times.
- Invest in a home defense weapon for added security.
- Buy a dog – Burglars hate dogs!
- Find a housesitter when you are traveling to keep your residence tidy and collect the mail.
One of your biggest weapons when it comes to identifying potential threats is yourself! Always stay on alert for markings, and don’t be afraid to contact the police when you see something suspicious! When something doesn’t look or feel right to you, it may be time to take action.